If you get a court summons you can either:
- Pay the full amount shown on the summons before the date of the hearing, including the court costs of £101.50 or £102.
- Contact us and we’ll try and help you. We might be able to arrange with you to pay what you owe. We’ll ask you about finances and look at your payment records before we agree to do this. If an arrangement isn't made before the hearing or paid as agreed after the hearing, a Notice of Liability Order and Financial Statement will be sent to you.
Do I have to go to court?
If you do not intend to dispute your liability, there's no need to attend your court hearing. A court cost of £101.50 will be added to your account even if you don't attend.
If you intend to dispute your liability before the Magistrates, you must ring us in advance to discuss your account. You still have a legal right to be heard by the Magistrates.
What will happen at my court hearing?
The court hearing will be conducted over the telephone. If you attend the court building in person, you'll still be asked to phone us to arrange your attendance at the hearing over the telephone.
If you don't intend to dispute your liability, you don't need to telephone us.
If you intend to dispute your liability before the Magistrates, you must:
- Contact us by calling the number advised on your summons to arrange to attend the court hearing by telephone.
- If your hearing is in the morning: you must call the day before your hearing from 1pm-3.30pm.
- If your hearing is in the afternoon: you must call on the same day as your hearing from 8.30am-11am.
- If you don't contact us at the correct times, we won't be able to arrange for you to attend the hearing by telephone.
At the hearing, we'll ask the magistrates to grant us a liability order. If you dispute your liability, the magistrates will ask if you have a valid defence that will stop a granted liability order. If you don't have a valid defence, the magistrates will grant a liability order.
What defences will the magistrates take into account?
Defences the magistrates will take into account before deciding to grant a liability order are:
- You've paid the amount shown on the summons in full before the hearing, including the court cost
- You're not the person who should be responsible for paying the Council Tax
- We've not sent you the bill, reminder or summons correctly - be aware we only have to prove notices were sent to you, we don't have to prove that you have received them
The following are not considered valid defences:
- You can't afford to pay
- You've applied for Council Tax Support, or a discount, exemption or other reduction
- You've got an outstanding appeal with the Valuation Office